Democracy noun \di-ˈmä-krə-sē- A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people.
Democracy only works if the people involved work to promote and protect it. Be a part of preserving and growing democracy in Nigeria through the following ways:
Know Your Rights
In accordance with the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, every Nigerian Citizen has the following basic rights:
Right to life
Right to dignity
Right to personal liberty
Right to fair hearing
Right to private and family life
Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Right to freedom of expression and the press
Right to peaceful assembly and association
Right to freedom of movement
Right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of ethnic group, place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion or political opinion
Right to compensation for property compulsorily acquired.
Know Your Government Basics
The work of the government in Nigeria is divided into three levels:
A Local Government Council represents each Local Government Area and is headed by an elected Local Government Chairman. The local government is responsible for things like:
Construction and maintenance of roads streets, street lightings, drains and other public highways
Establishment, maintenance and regulation of markets, motorparks and public conveniences
Registration of all births, deaths and marriages
A state’s residents are represented by a Governor and a State House of Representatives (State House of Assembly). The role of government at the state level, in collaboration with the local government, is to maintain primary, vocational and adult education and health services. State governments also share responsibility with the federal government to facilitate industrial, commercial and agricultural development, in addition to university and post-primary education matters.
The federal government is Nigeria’s highest establishment in charge of running the country. It is divided into three branches:
This branch consists of the President, Vice-President and Ministers of the Federation, which are subject to the provisions of laws made by National Assembly.
The judicial branch upholds the mandates of the Constitution. This branch works via a court system and has four main divisions:
The Supreme Court is the highest court that has last appeal on all matters. It consists of the Chief Justice of the Federation and Justices appointed to the Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeal consists the President and the Justices of the Court of Appeal among which at least three must be learned in Islamic Law and three in Customary Law. It has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from the Federal High Court, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, State High court, Sharia Court of Appeal, Customary Court of Appeal, National Industrial Court, a court-martial or other tribunals prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
The Constitutional Court consists of the President and at least 20 Justices of the Constitutional Court. It has original jurisdiction in respect of matters relating to the interpretation or enforcement of the Constitution.
The Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction in civil cases and matters relating to the revenue of the Government of the Federation such as taxation, customs, and excise duties, banking, copyright, admiralty, citizenship, etc.
The National Assembly enacts the duties of the legislative branch and is divided into the Senate and a House of Representatives. The role of the National Assembly is to make laws that promote peace, order and good government.
A bill becomes a law in the following ways:
A bill can originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives.
However, a bill may be submitted to both the Senate & the House of Representatives at the same time & considered simultaneously in both chambers.
A bill becomes law when it has been passed by both chambers and the President agrees on the bill.
If the President does not agree on the bill, a two-thirds majority of all the members of both chambers is needed to pass the bill.
Other things to consider:
The President has 30 days to determine if he is assenting or withholding assent.
If both chambers pass different versions of a bill, the bill goes through a harmonization process via a conference committee.
A bill can be presented as an Executive Bill (through the President) or a Private Member’s (through a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives).
There are many ways to be a part of making Nigeria great. If you want more from your government or are interested in learning more on such topics as voting or ways you can be an advocate for better government, visit the following sites:
Interesting in Registering to Vote?- Visit INEC
Interested in Promoting Government Accountability?- Visit Enough is Enough Nigeria
Interested in Learning More About Your Rights in Nigeria?- Visit the National Human Rights Commission
Interested in Knowing More About the Laws Governing Nigeria? Visit the International Centre for Nigerian Law